The contribution from acquisitions, net of disposals, accounted for an increase of 12.8%. The Gypsum division (formerly BPB) posted a 13.3% rise in sales over the nine months period, to €2,931 million.
Organic growth for the first nine month came in at 6.3% on a like-for-like basis (comparable Group structure and exchange rates), fuelled by continuous sales price rises (up 3.3%) and on-going satisfactory growth in volumes (up 3.0%). The robust trading performance recorded in the first six months of the year (up 6.3% for first-half 2006) continued throughout the third quarter (up 6.2%), enabling the Group to maintain organic growth for the nine months at the same level as for first-half 2006.
Each of the Group's five business sectors reported a notable advance in like-for-like sales over the first nine months of 2006.
Businesses related to construction markets, in particular, continued to post overall healthy growth figures, boosted by the impact of new European regulations on energy efficiency in the building industry and by the upswing in Germany. In Europe, vigorous construction markets (new residential and commercial construction and renovation spending) balanced the impact of the slowdown in US housing starts, which broadly evolved in line with the Group's economic assumptions for full-year 2006.
Businesses exposed to household consumption and industrial production markets remain on the growth track.